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Babolsar is a city in and the capital of Babolsar County
Babolsar County
Babolsar County is a county in Mazandaran Province in Iran. The capital of the county is Babolsar. At the 2006 census, the county's population was 172,600, in 46,595 families; excluding those portions, the population was 116,545, in 31,546 families...

, Mazandaran Province
Mazandaran Province
Mazandaran Province is a Caspian province in the north of Iran. Located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, it is bordered clockwise by the Golestan, Semnan, Tehran, Alborz, Qazvin, and Gilan provinces....

, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. At the 2006 census, its population was 47,872, in 13,442 families.

Babolsar is located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. Since the Babol river passes through the city, both the bank of the river and the beach of the sea form tourist attractions in the city. The city is home to the major faculties of the University of Mazandaran
University of Mazandaran
University of Mazandaran is a university located in Mazandaran Province of Iran, headquartered in the city of Babolsar.-History:Mazandaran University, formerly Reza Shah Kabir University, was founded in 1979 by the merging of Babolsar College of Economics and Social Sciences est...

. Babolsar has an area of 446 square kilometers.


The city acquired its current name in 1927. The city's historic name is MaÞhad-e Sar or Mashhadsar, meaning "the special way to Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

, referring to the only road connecting the northwest of Iran to the northeast, including Mashhad, which passed through Babolsar. By the 18th century, Babolsar had become a busy commercial port. During the reign of Nadir Shah, it was the base for Iran's Caspian fleet. By 1909, the port yielded 12 percent of the total customs revenue of Iran. However, by 1895, ports in Gilan were already competing with Babolsar.

During Reza Shah
Reza Shah
Rezā Shāh, also known as Rezā Shāh Pahlavi and Rezā Shāh Kabir , , was the Shah of the Imperial State of Iran from December 15, 1925, until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on September 16, 1941.In 1925, Reza Shah overthrew Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last Shah of the Qajar...

's reign, Babolsar lost much of its remaining trade to the new port of Bandar-e Shah at the terminus of the trans-Iranian railroad. The cargo handled at Babolsar in the years of 1935 and 1936 was only 25,000 tons. A modern quarter and a hotel were built during this period. The end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 brought a new era of vitality to the city as a summer seaside resort for people from Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, which gave rise to a new phase of rapid expansion. Babolsar's population increased from about 3,500 in 1945 to 11,781 in 1966 and 18,810 in 1976.